Characteristics of Retail Loyalty in 2019: Grocery Brand Loyalty

By November 19, 2019 November 23rd, 2019 CCG Retail Marketing Blog

Our study highlights specific factors that drive consumers to choose one grocery retailer over another.

By Sandra Gudat, President/CEO

Grocery Brand Loyalty

Article Highlights

  • Many of the same factors that influence retail loyalty also drive grocery brand loyalty
  • Good Value for the Money and Convenient are primary factors impacting grocery loyalty
  • Factors favored by grocery consumers vary based on demographics
  • 70 grocery retailers are represented in customer.com’s annual Retail Customer Loyalty Study

Just over 100 years ago, the concept of grocery shopping in the United States changed forever when Clarence Saunders opened the first supermarket, Piggly Wiggly in Memphis, TN. Of the nearly 500 individual U.S. retailers represented in customer.com’s annual Retail Customer Loyalty Study, 70 of them were grocery retailers. We decided it was time to drill down on the grocery sector and focus on those factors that consumers tell us drive them to choose one grocery retailer over another.

A Bit About the Retail Customer Loyalty Study

To give you some context, the study showed that overall retail loyalty has improved in 2019, with more customers than ever — 37% — reporting that they prefer to consistently shop with the same retailer rather than shop around. That’s up from 35% in 2018.

In 2019, consumers remained divided into the three shopping personalities identified in our initial, groundbreaking study from 2018. In addition to Loyalists, these shopper types are “Roamers” — who typically shop around before making a purchase — and Neutrals, who have some go-to retailers for particular purchases, but also shop around.

When we compare grocery retailers to the overall retail norm, we see that grocery consumers tend to consist of a slightly higher percentage of Loyalists, a slightly lower percentage of Neutrals and the same percentage of Roamers.

Retail Norm with Loyalists

Grocery with Loyalists

Factors That Influence Grocery Consumer Loyalty

When we pull out the sub-set of grocery consumer respondents as compared to overall survey respondents, we find they listed many of the same factors that drive their loyalty, but in a slightly different priority order. For instance, Good Value for the Money was most frequently listed by grocery consumers followed by Convenience, Easy Purchases, Lowest Price and Positive Shopping Experience. While the retail norm had some of the same factors in their top five, factors such as Unique Products and Assortment of Products Offered were also listed. Interestingly, Lowest Price was cited slightly more frequently among overall survey respondents as compared to grocery respondents.

Grocery ConsumersAll Consumers
1Good Value for the MoneyGood Value for the Money
2ConvenientLowest Price
3Easy PurchasesConvenient
4Lowest PriceUnique Products
5Positive Shopping ExperienceAssortment of Products Offered

Table: Most Frequently Cited Loyalty Factors

When respondents ranked their loyalty factors, however, grocery consumers most frequently ranked first Good Value for the Money while respondents overall tended to rank Lowest Price first. It should be noted that Lowest Price was a very close second among grocery consumers.

When consumers were asked to cite their “tie-breaking” loyalty factors when price, product and access were identical between two retailers, grocery consumers followed the general trend set by consumers overall, but placed more emphasis on such factors as Fair Treatment, Positive Shopping Experience, Receive Incentives to Shop and Easy to Make Purchases.

The Role of Demographics in Grocery Brand Loyalty

Other interesting brand loyalty statistics from the study show that factors favored by grocery consumers can vary based on demographics.

  • Males most often ranked Good Value for the Money as their top loyalty factor, whereas females listed Lowest Price. If price, product and access were identical between two retailers, Males were more likely to list Trust as their tie breaker and females were more likely to list Easy to Make Purchases as theirs.
  • In the general study reflecting all retailers, households without children at home are more likely to be Loyalists. However, among grocery consumers households with children were much more likely to be Loyalists.
  • Younger grocery consumers (those aged 44 and under) tended to be Loyalists where older grocery consumers (aged 45+) tended to be Neutrals. Younger consumers were also more likely to rank Lowest Price as their number one factor, while older consumers ranked Good Value for the Money as their top loyalty factor.
  • In general, the lower the annual income of a household, the more those grocery consumers are likely to be Loyalists. As household income increases, the more likely grocery consumers will fall into the Roamer category. More affluent grocery consumers were more likely to rank Good Value for the Money as their number one loyalty factor while less affluent consumers listed Lowest Price as their most important factor.

The Grocery Brands Consumers Love

The Retail Customer Loyalty Study uncovered brand loyalty based on consumer input related to more than 500 retailers, including 70 grocery retailers. Respondents were asked to list the retailer they were most likely to exclusively shop for particular needs.

We found that some retailers attract more Loyalists than others. For instance, 38% of Safeway customers and 37% of Costco customers define themselves as Loyalists. And nearly 50% of Weis Markets shoppers describe themselves as Loyalists. In the table below we differentiated between retailers whose primary focus is grocery — a.k.a. “supermarkets,” versus general merchandise retailers that also sell grocer products — “hypermarkets.”

RankSupermarketHypermarket
1Kroger logoWalmart logo
2Aldi logoAmazon logo
3Publix logoTarget logo
4Safeway logoCostco logo
5Food Lion logoSam's Club logo
6Save-A-Lot logoFry's Marketplace logo
7H-E-B logoMeijer logo
8Hy-Vee logoFred Meyer logo
9Trader Joe's logoBJ's Wholesale logo
10King Soopers logoSmith's logo

The Future of Grocery Brand Loyalty

With the advent of shopping online for groceries in recent years, the grocery business continues to evolve. According to Forrester,1 global online grocery shopping revenues are expected to double between 2017 and 2022. At the same time, bricks and mortar supermarkets are shrinking with the average sales area shrinking by 15% since 2010, as these retailers focus on a more limited selection curated specifically for the local neighborhood. As the industry becomes more complex, understanding the factors that drive consumers to select one grocery retailer over another has never been more important in this highly competitive industry.

For more details on factors driving customer loyalty, get a free download of customer.com’s 2019 Retail Customer Loyalty Study.

Are you ready to leverage the characteristics of loyalty to build more profitable customer relationships? Our customer engagement agency is here to help, with more than 40 years of experience focused on that exact mission. Learn more about our retail marketing services. Then call 303.986.3000 or click below to talk with one of our retail marketing consultants.

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1 “Forrester Data: Online Grocery Retail Forecast, 2017 To 2022 (Global),” Forrester.com, posted March 28, 2018 https://www.forrester.com/report/Forrester+Data+Online+Grocery+Retail+Forecast+2017+To+2022+Global/-/E-RES143132#, accessed Nov. 1, 2019

“Three Grocery Retail Trends to Jump on in 2019,” David Cianco, Retail Info Systems, posted Feb. 12, 2019, https://risnews.com/three-grocery-retail-trends-jump-2019, accessed Nov. 1, 2019

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